1 tc Ball reads אֵל (’el, “God”) instead of אִם (’im, “if”): “God destroys it” – but there is no reason for this. The idea would be implied in the context. A. B. Davidson rightly points out that who destroys it is not important, but the fact that it is destroyed.
tn The Hebrew has “if one destroys it”; the indefinite subject allows for a passive interpretation. The verb means “swallow” in the Qal, but in the Piel it means “to engulf; to destroy; to ruin” (2:3; 10:8). It could here be rendered “removed from its place” (the place where it is rooted); since the picture is that of complete destruction, “uprooted” would be a good rendering.
2 tn Heb “it”; the referent (“his place” in the preceding line) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
sn The place where the plant once grew will deny ever knowing it. Such is the completeness of the uprooting that there is not a trace left.
3 tn Here “saying” is supplied in the translation.
4 tn This line is difficult. If the MT stands as it is, the expression must be ironic. It would be saying that the joy (all the security and prosperity) of its way (its life) is short-lived – that is the way its joy goes. Most commentators are not satisfied with this. Dhorme, for one, changes מְשׂוֹשׂ (mÿsos, “joy”) to מְסוֹס (mÿsos, “rotting”), and gets “behold him lie rotting on the path.” The sibilants can interchange this way. But Dhorme thinks the MT was written the way it was because the word was thought to be “joy,” when it should have been the other way. The word “way” then becomes an accusative of place. The suggestion is rather compelling and would certainly fit the context. The difficulty is that a root סוּס (sus, “to rot”) has to be proposed. E. Dhorme does this by drawing on Arabic sas, “to be eaten by moths or worms,” thus “worm-eaten; decaying; rotting.” Cf. NIV “its life withers away”; also NAB “there he lies rotting beside the road.”
5 tn Heb “dust.”
6 sn As with the tree, so with the godless man – his place will soon be taken by another.